Nurses speak out about 'nightmare' parking situation at Ipswich Hospital

Nurses at Ipswich Hospital have spoken out about the 'frustrating' car park situation

Nurses at Ipswich Hospital have spoken out about the 'frustrating' car park situation - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich Hospital nurses have claimed the lack of parking spaces available to staff under a new system is causing them to miss work and pay public car park fees. 

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the hospital, introduced a new payment system with ANPR monitoring technology on Monday, May 10.

However, this has reduced the number of spaces staff can park in and though the hospital say it has handed out permits for staff with irregular hours, many have complained over the "frustrating" situation.

One nurse, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It's a nightmare.

"A student nurse ended up in floods of tears the other day when she couldn't find a spot, we have doctors turning up late for handovers because they couldn't find one and had to park in a public car park instead.

"The permits for staff working irregular hours have been handed out but there's so many of us without one — I couldn't find a space for any of my three shifts last week, what do they expect us to do?"

Another anonymous nurse added: "I work 8am until 8pm and when I arrive in the morning all the staff spaces are gone while the visitors section, which is monitored by the ANPR, is virtually empty.

"Doctors are turning up late for clinics, patients are turning up to appointments and no one is there because they're out looking for a parking space.

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"We even got told to just use the Park and Ride instead — so many people have complained and it's so frustrating."

Paul Fenton is the director of estate and facilities for the East Suffollk and North Essex Foundatio

Paul Fenton is the director of estate and facilities for the East Suffollk and North Essex Foundation Trust which runs Ipswich Hospital - Credit: ESNEFT

Paul Fenton, director of Estates and Facilities for ESNEFT, said: “We are looking at how we can better manage our staff and visitor parking areas so there’s a better balance of available spaces for everyone during busier times of the day.

“We know there are less patients coming to the hospital thanks to the introduction of virtual appointments and we have many colleagues who are able to work from home."

He said the new permit system for staff is design to be "fairer" and considers shift work, on-call duties, childcare and caring responsibilities.

He also said the out of hours permits enable workers who start after 3.30pm or end before 9am to park on site — but the nurses this newspaper spoke to deny being offered one.

A spokesperson for Car Parking Partnership, which manages the hospital car park, said: “We continue to work closely with our partner at East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust to ensure that the parking facilities at Ipswich Hospital meet the requirements of all staff, patients and visitors.”

The hospital says it is assigning permits on a needs basis and there are no fixed number to hand out.

Staff who have applied for a permit and have been rejected are encouraged to appeal.

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